A recent issue of Ñ had the usual end-of-year review of books published in 2006 with a list of recommended readings. Here’s the list of foreign books that Ñ recommended to its Argentine audience. I’m including the English title when I know it and the Spanish title for all works. The titles are listed in the order provided by Ñ:

Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster
Kafka on the Shore (Kafka en la orilla) by Haruki Murakami
The Black Book (El libro negro) by Orhan Pamuk
The Sweetest Dream (El sueño más dulce) by Doris Lessing
Jacobo el mutante by Mario Bellatin (Mexican-Peruvian writer, unavailable in English)
La pintora de la reina by Genevieve Chauvel (translated from the French; I don’t believe it’s available in English)
A Star Called Henry (Un héroe llamado Henry) by Roddy Doyle
La mesera ere nueva by Dominique Fabre (translated from the French, not available in English)
(El viento de la Luna) by Antonio Muñoz Molina (Spanish author, I don’t believe this title is available in English
Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis

I consider myself a very well read person but have only read five of those writers (Auster, Murakami, Pamuk, Lessing, and Ellis). I am familiar with Doyle but have never read anything by him. All the other writers are new to me. Of course, a limiting factor in what Ñ can recommend to its readers are only works that have been translated into Spanish. But, it’s nice to learn about some writers that are new to me. Lists like these help me realize how little I know about contemporary literature from non-English speaking countries. From the above list, my personal recommendation is Kafka on the Shore. Ok, yeah, Murakami is from Japan but he’s hugely popular in the U.S.

Argentine Novels

Here is the list of Argentine novels that Ñ recommends from 2006:

Tartabul by David Viñas
Punto final by Andres Rivera
Arte menor by Betina Gonzalez
Diario de la rabia by Hector Libertella
Sí, soy mala poeta pero… by Alberto Laiseca
La educatión de los sentidos by Miguel Vitagliano
El conquistador by Federico Andahazi
Bolivia construcciones by Bruno Morales
La batalla del calentamiento by Marcelo Figueras
Leer y escribir by Ariel Bermani

This issue of Ñ also includes dozens of more books by Argentine writers in various types of non-fiction as well as more fiction.

Ñ reports more than 16,000 titles being published in Argentina during the past year. Some of these works will find a reading public in other Spanish-speaking countries. Yet, that’s a lot of writers whom, mostly, will never find an audience outside of Argentina. I, for one, am quite impressed by the quality and quantity of publishing in Argentina. One of my blogging goals for the upcoming year is to examine more Argentine writers, helping a little to bring a tad more recognition to the many voices of this country. Considering the fact that few titles are translated into English these days, reading Spanish opens up an entirely new world of the imagination. These books are readings not just for Argentines, but for all of us.